SACRAMENTO – This year’s Festival of New American Music at Sacramento State begins with a Nov. 4 tribute to composer Arthur Jarvinen, who died Oct. 2. Jarvinen was to have been this year’s keynote speaker. Rand Steiger, professor of music at UC San Diego and a close friend of Jarvinen, will talk about Jarvinen’s life and work at noon in Capistrano Hall’s Music Recital Hall.
Later that day, at the 8 p.m. Gala Performance, one of Jarvinen’s works will be performed by violinist Andrew Tholl of TempWerks. Other performers that night include Earplay and Chris Froh, performing music by Yu-Hui Chang, Melissa Hui, Pablo Ortiz and Hans Thomalla. A full program of Jarvinen’s music will be performed by TempWerks at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5. Both concerts are in the Music Recital Hall.
The festival, popularly known as FeNAM, runs Nov. 4-14, offering a series of free concerts, most of them on the Sacramento State campus. Other performers include the Ahn Trio, cellist Zoe Keating, clarinetist Jean Kopperud and the University’s own Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Singers and the Sacramento State Festival Ensemble.
New American music is loosely defined as any music written after 1980 by a composer of American citizenship. After that, the format is pretty open.
“The music can be written in any style,” Co-director Keith Bohm said. “Is there really just an American form of music? I would have to say ‘not really.’”
Festival Director Stephen Blumberg said he and Bohm have a good arrangement working together throughout the year. When it’s festival time, Bohm tends to look after the performers, while Blumberg shepherds the composers.
One of the highlights of this year’s FeNAM is the appearance of the Ahn Trio at 8 p.m., Nov. 8, in the Music Recital Hall.
“They’re definitely the hot group right now,” Bohm said. “Not only in the music world, but in fashion – they’re on Glamour magazine – and they’re going beyond just the music and art part of it.”
Blumberg adds that the harpsichord offerings are unique. “For new music, the harpsichord is not an instrument people think about,” he said.
This year Sacramento State alumna Faythe Vollrath will give a harpsichord recital in Capistrano Hall Room 151 at 3 p.m., Nov. 13, followed at 8 by a performance by harpsichordist Jory Vinikour.
“We have kind of a mini harpsichord festival within the larger festival,” Blumberg said.